Company Culture

Read the Slack code of conduct

An online community is a group of humans. These guidelines shape how the Slack can remain welcoming, and true to our journalistic values.

Slack. (Gif via Product Hunt on Giphy)
News organizations convene a community to serve.

The team has worked by that ideal for more than a decade, by reporting on how local economies have changed for cities across the country. We did much of that work with in-person events, even as we launched in 2015 the Slack, providing space for technologists and entrepreneurs across the cities we covered to connect, including regular AMA sessions. Over the last 18 months, events moved entirely online, and our contrarian stance to focus on in-person for our super-connected readers proved impossible to continue. In many cases, it was our Slack community that kept us close.

The number of daily active community members in the Slack has more than doubled this year. Slack data showed us the DMs are popping, and connections are happening, whether through live interviews hosted by reporters, the #jobs channel or #v-good-animals. Inspired by much reader feedback, we’re working to make it a place where real connections happen — and where the newsroom learns from the community and gets better at tracking tech economies.

With that in mind, we decided to close our internal Slack, and make the public Slack our only platform. Now, internal and external communications happen in one place. With that, the leadership team decided it was time for more of the building blocks of a sustained community to move into place.

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So, as part of a number of housekeeping to measures to make more room for the party, we created a new code of conduct for the Slack — led by Deputy Managing Editor Stephen Babcock and inspired in part by recommendations from newsroom engagement expert Leslie Datsis. This Slack belongs to the members, so we took a draft to the community to seek feedback, too.

Just like meetup groups and conferences (like our own Philly Tech Week and other events) have a code of conduct, a Slack needs a set of guidelines to ensure it remains a welcoming place. In our case, it also reflects our journalistic values. To be sure, that means it includes what not to do. Challenging others doesn’t offer license to be a jerk. And, seriously, don’t spam us (or others). But we hope there are also insights that will help members find value from the space, too.

Find the full text of the final document below. We’ll pin it to the most-trafficked channels. But we also hope it can function as a kind of guide to being a good human on an increasingly messy internet. So, we’re sharing it here. Your feedback is always welcome.

Welcome to the Slack. Please review our Code of Conduct.

The TL;DR: We’re a news org working to help you navigate your career, and this is a place for our community to connect; Don’t be a jerk or we’ll throw you off; Be a person first, not a shill or a troll or we’ll throw you off. We are true to our journalism values, which you can learn more about here. Hit [ Managing Editor Julie Zeglen] and [Deputy Managing Editor Stephen Babcock] with any problems or questions.

Founded in 2009, we’re a news organization serving a community of technology professionals, and their hometowns. Our company values are to be welcoming, challenging and connective. That extends to our Slack, a space for our community to share the latest, and meet other professionals. We’re dedicated to providing a safe and friendly community, which values contributions from everyone, and we want to help facilitate connections within our community. is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of our community members in any form. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Being in this Slack is a privilege, not a right. We’ll happily boot you off if you’re being a jerk.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any channel.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Be kind and generous to others. Do not insult or put down other community members. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Excessive swearing and offensive jokes are not appropriate for the Slack. This is a collegial professional environment. Be cool my dudes.

Community rules: We prize creating an authentic space allowing for professional exploration and personal development. To maintain this, all community members must adhere to the following:

  • Be transparent: When you join the Slack community, post under your own name, not your company’s. We want to see who you are and want a community of real people. We do make special exceptions for people who operate consistently online for issues of their safety. Otherwise, though, we believe a community is best served by honesty and transparency.
  • Don’t spam: External recruiters: Do not post jobs in this space. For everyone else, post one job in the #jobs channel that fits with the moment, then stop. No one wants giant blocks of text cluttering their shared space. Or repeat shares. You’ll look way too thirsty. Meanwhile, don’t over-sell your product. As a rule of thumb, mention your product and service for every four or five contributions you make otherwise.
  • Contribute value and make this yours too: You’re part of a community. Join lots of channels. Share insights and connect with others. Drop links. Make it a conversation. This is a place for learning, not transactions. Make relationships, and great things will happen. Want to see new emojis? Add ‘em! Want to organize a live conversation on a topic you care about? Do it! Have feedback, DM us!
  • Be part of our journalism: is a news organization, so our newsroom will frequently ask for perspective on our Slack. If we want to publish a response, we’ll ask first. We also welcome and respect when community members share their thoughts with us privately via DM. If you’re up for it though we love learning in this place and sharing elsewhere.

In exchange, this is what promises: We’ll learn and share what you help us understand about the world around us; we’ll help you connect other brilliant people and we won’t pester you.  Only three top-level admins have the ability to use the @ channel function. That’s on purpose. We intend to rarely, if ever, use that tool more than once a month — and likely a lot less. Similarly: Treat others as you want to be treated.

If violations occur to any of the above, Technically Media will take any action we deem appropriate for the infraction, up to and including expulsion from this community. DM the editors or if communications in a channel or direct message make you uncomfortable, or with general concerns and questions.

Note: This Code of Conduct was inspired, in part, from’s “Philly Tech Week Code of Conduct” from 2013, which, in turn, was forked by PyCon’s Code of Conduct Policy, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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Thanks team!

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